Categories
Performance poetry

Dialogue Aftermath

Dialogue was a tremendous experience and (dare I say it) I great success!

It was so enriching to see people from lots of different backgrounds responding to the same theme across a number of art forms. We had young people and children with special educational needs using music to show us how they experience the world on a day to day basis, immersing us in their reality of sensory overload.

The Messengers are a group of musicians made up of Guildhall students and people who have experienced homelessness – it’s done in collaboration with the charity St. Mungo’s Broadway (soon to be changed back to being called St. Mungo’s) as part of their recovery college. Again, for a festival themed around Outside/In, it was wonderful to see Barbican providing so many people who are made to feel like outsiders with the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Against that backdrop, I was quite nervous about performing, not to mention the fact that as I mentioned in my last post – I have a small fear of heights. It was a great place to be seated though as I was nestled in with the audience, much to the bemusement of the people sitting on either side of me when the spotlight was suddenly trained upon them and I started reciting from my seat. My poem was about going home to Manchester and feeling very much like a stranger in a city I thought I knew and tracing the history of the city back to Roman times.

Going forward, I want to try and do more odd placements of myself during performances as I felt it disrupted people’s expectations to not have their attention focused on a stage. I intend to chat to Jacob about this at a BYP session.

By Cameron Holleran - Poet, Facilitator and Performer

I only started to get into poetry in Sixth Form where I had some wonderful teachers who put me onto Tony Harrison and John Agard – they were two poets that just stuck in my head as people using the language that they spoke to create poetry. With Harrison, we'd looked at V and it wasn't the swearing that resonated with me, it was the fact he'd used the word 'mam'.

Between that a lifelong love of music, I just really loved using words in different ways and having fun with language. I felt brave enough after a few months of writing to try giving performing ago, so started doing open mics around Manchester (I'm from Salford) in 2009 and won some local slams.

When I moved to London in 2011, my mental health took a bit of a dive and I couldn't deal with performing again. In 2014, I'd got talking to a friend on my degree course (who was and remains an amazing and accomplished poet) and showed her some of my writing – she encouraged me to apply for the Barbican Young Poets and I got on and was part of the programme from 2014 to 2016. BYP was an incredible experience and remains one of the happiest periods of my life and I made lots of new friends and came on a lot as a poet, thanks to the support and mentoring of Jacob Sam-La Rose, Kayo Chinonyi, Jasmine Cooray, and Rachel Long

In that time, I performed at a lot of venues in addition to the Barbican Centre, including the Southbank Centre, People's Palace, Rich Mix and Tate Modern, as well as a number of festivals such as Curious Festival (where I wrote a poem in Anglo-Saxon which was backed by a jazz quartet), the Barbican Weekender, Walthamstow Garden Party. I was part of the team responsible for curating National Poetry Day 2014 at the Southbank Centre, performed at Inua Ellams RAP Party, and worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on a commission which formed part of the the BBC's Centenary commemorations.

I've been published in a few places such as the Barbican anthologies, Watermarks anthology and Marble Poetry, longlisted for the erbacce prize, and nominated for the first Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

I am the current poet-in-residence for the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL. My work here is used to highlight and complement the research that is being done by the institute, providing a different way for people to interact with their work.

Other things that are important to know about me are that I'm non-binary (they/them/their pronouns), I love cats and Pepsi, and I like to box.

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